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The Truth About Horses Who Served in World War I

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  • The Truth About Horses Who Served in World War I

    World War I was a brutal war for the horses.

    6 million horses served in World War I. Only 62,000 returned home.

    This and other facts you will discover in this video, including the sad story of what happened to most of the surviving horses when the war was over.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tWDCO9myKB4
    Last edited by Mike Matson; Aug. 4, 2010, 08:57 AM.
    "No matter how well you perform there's always somebody of intelligent opinion who thinks it's lousy." - Laurence Olivier

  • #2
    It sounds fascinating, but I'm going to pass. I won't sleep for a week if I read it. I watched a program called "War Dogs" about the dogs in Viet Nam and that was a few years ago, I still think about it. Not many came home thanks to President Johnson.

    Animals serving in war always take a hard hit, I hate the suffering.
    RIP Kelly 1977-2007 "Wither thou goest, so shall I"

    "To tilt when you should withdraw is Knightly too."

    Comment


    • #3
      There's a particularly gruesome map at the Gettysburg museum that has marks where bodies, both human and equine, were identified for burial. It has different icons for human vs. horse and each one equals *I think* 10 of each. I already knew a lot of people died there, but I was amazed at the number of horses killed.
      You are what you dare.

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      • #4
        safe to say WWI sucked for everyone, the horses were not an exception. Wars before and after that sucked too.
        Your crazy is showing. You might want to tuck that back in.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Eventer55 View Post
          It sounds fascinating, but I'm going to pass. I won't sleep for a week if I read it. I watched a program called "War Dogs" about the dogs in Viet Nam and that was a few years ago, I still think about it. Not many came home thanks to President Johnson.

          Animals serving in war always take a hard hit, I hate the suffering.
          Yup, I think I will pass too as I remember that program - very sad

          Comment


          • #6
            Interesting that many of the horses suffered from PTSD after the war, just like their human counterparts.

            Comment


            • #7
              That was sad, but I still thank you for posting it.
              Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
              Incredible Invisible

              Comment


              • #8
                i think that the animals who serve us intensely in war are always the ones most forgotten. When you think about it, if it wasn't for war dogs and horses...and sometimes oxen...we wouldnt have survived the wars or won the civil war, etc. if it wasnt for the sacrafices these animals made....we wouldnt be "America".

                There is a memorial for a dog on the gettysburg battlefields for a dog that belonged to a specific regiment and there is also a war-horse memorial somewhere in the USA> i would like to see a war-horse memorial in Arlington or the Washington, D.C. area

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                • #9
                  'Don't know if this WWI era poster is authentic or not, but when I first saw it I couldn't help but think what an utter nightmare that job would be for any horse lover.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I'm reading "With the Old Breed", one Marine's account of the assaults on Pelileu and Okinawa. He recalls a sweet moment helping a little Okinawa horse out of a steep sided ditch he'd slipped down into. The horse was upright, but couldn't get any purchase to get out of his predicament. Sledge and his fellow Marines worked to pop the little guy out of his trap, and watched him trot right off. A happy moment in Hell on earth.

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                    • #11
                      Several years ago there was a film about the WWI horses that survived and returned home. If I remember right, they were considered expendable and taken to Mexico and drowned - or at least that was the plan.

                      It's a strange and sad story - I wasn't able to watch the whole thing. I believe that there was some last-minute intervention to stop it, but I'm not sure.

                      It wouldn't surprise me at all that the horses had PTSD. There is an article in today's paper (Oakland Tribune) about PTSD and army dogs.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        thank you for the link, it was a well made piece. Still though, we must remember that 1 horse died for every soldier. This, as other wars, was not kind to anyone caught in the crossfire.

                        I am reminded of "Legends of the Fall", that movie showed the brutality of trench warfare pretty up close IIRC.

                        Poor horses-used, abused and ignored, but a vital asset to the effort.
                        Ellipses users clique ...
                        TGFPT,HYOOTGP

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          This is why every horse deserves to be spoiled. Apples and carrots are a small price to pay.

                          We humans owe them for thousands of years of pain and suffering.

                          Another interesting statistic: the US horse population only returned to pre-Civil War numbers around the turn of the century.
                          ... It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that Shwung

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            How much do we owe the cows for their sacrifice?

                            Honestly, the video is sad. And I have nothing against 'spoiling' a horse - mine is certainly kept in carrots.
                            But saying that we as humankind "owe" a debt to horsekind strikes me as just weird, not least because of how many other animals we can be said to "owe" equally or much more in the course of humanity's progress.
                            Proud Member Of The Lady Mafia

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                            • #15
                              There is a very good book called War Horse that talks about WWI from the horse's point of view. It's aimed toward young teen readers but is well written enough that a horse loving adult would enjoy it. I bought it because it mentioned haflingers in it. I believe there is a movie/play based on the book.
                              I'm a second hand Vegan. Cows eat grass. I eat cows.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by lilblackhorse View Post
                                thank you for the link, it was a well made piece. Still though, we must remember that 1 horse died for every soldier. This, as other wars, was not kind to anyone caught in the crossfire.

                                I am reminded of "Legends of the Fall", that movie showed the brutality of trench warfare pretty up close IIRC.

                                Poor horses-used, abused and ignored, but a vital asset to the effort.
                                Agreed-

                                Thanks for posting Mike

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I saw a show about the horses left in Egypt by the Brits in the early 1900's. Too expensive to bring them home, so they were just left. Many were cared for by the locals and some the soldiers who stayed on as well.

                                  I have a version of Vet Notes for Horse Owners that has a chapter, with pics, of injuries expected in war.

                                  If you have the chance - watch In Pursuit of Honor, HBO movie based on true story of soldiers who saved a herd bound for death as the US Army was changing from horsepower to machines. No doubt US was not the only government to take these actions.

                                  Finally - Rudyard Kipling wrote a poem about how soldiers are treated - Tommy
                                  http://quotations.about.com/cs/poemlyrics/a/Tommy.htm
                                  "Never do anything that you have to explain twice to the paramedics."
                                  Courtesy my cousin Tim

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Coanteen View Post
                                    How much do we owe the cows for their sacrifice?
                                    But saying that we as humankind "owe" a debt to horsekind strikes me as just weird, not least because of how many other animals we can be said to "owe" equally or much more in the course of humanity's progress.
                                    I'll stand by my statement: Apart from Humans ... I firmly believe that the Horse, above any other species has done more to shape the face of the Earth as it is, today; be it on the battlefield or on the farm.

                                    Yes - cows, chickens and swine ... even some vegetables have played a role in the development of human civilization. But their roles were more along the lines of agriculture (i.e. the food chain), whereas the Horse was our *partner* through millenia of War and Peace.

                                    ... and I'll smack anyone that throws in a Tolstoy reference!
                                    ... It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that Shwung

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                                    • #19
                                      history was made on the back of the horse. i agree that we owe horses a huge debt that we have yet to begin to repay.
                                      also, second the suggestion about the book , war horse.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        "For Love of Horses" was a book written by Mrs Geoffrey Brooke who was a diplomat's wife in Egypt after WWI. She saw the predicament of the old English hunters who were left behind and suffering greatly in harness with poor workers in Cairo. She started a charity and repatriated a few back to England's green and pleasant land, but continued on until she had sourced every single one of those horses, purchased them and treated them. The Brooke Hospital for Animals still exists and has expanded to several countries - Pakistan, Kenya, etc.
                                        and is a very worthy cause for our donations...teaching the owners how to care for their animals to make their lives better and get more productive work from them.

                                        My daughter visited them once - was so warmly greeted.

                                        TheBrooke.org
                                        Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique

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